Posted by Eszter Hermann · Nov 17, 2014

1914, 1939, 1989, 2004 – all are significant dates in the history of Europe and the subjects of a new exhibition in the Hungarian National Gallery of Budapest. Turning Points is open from 14 November, 2014 till 15 February, 2015 and awaits those who want to take a journey back to the previous century.

2014 is a year of anniversaries. We commemorate the outbreak of World War I and II, the democratic transition in Central Eastern Europe, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the eastward enlargement of the European Union. For a lot of us, some of these events are merely shadows of the past, and, although the stormy 20th century is not far away, we only discuss these events talking to older generations or preparing for a history test paper. The new exhibition in the Hungarian National Gallery entitled Turning Points makes us think a bit more and try to dig a bit deeper.


Turning Points is a contemporary art project with compositions of all together 26 artists from 16 countries on display. Each of the pieces present an analysis of history and the last century, awakening new thoughts, personal ideas about the past that we lived through or that we could only hear from our grandmothers, grandfathers. The artists come from all over the world, from countries such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Japan, Spain, Romania or Israel, just to mention a few. Their aim is not simply to talk about these events, the turning points, but to reveal the overarching nature of the 20th century and explore the ideas behind these events.


Significant events of the century started in 1914, when rivalries, fights over colonies, issues of nationality finally led to the outbreak of the „Great War”. But the questions raised were not answered, problems were not solved by 1918 and World War II, that many analysts consider as the continuation of the first, broke out a few years later. The line of conflicts that began at the start of the century and continued through the Cold War culminated with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the strengthening of the European integration.


For the 26 talented artists, these significant turning points are sources of inspiration. They help raise questions, lead us to a new understanding and give us an insight into how the events of the century might be related. What is the nature of war like? What is the rhetoric, symbolism and human image of totalitarian regimes? How do historical events relate to our own personal experience? Among many others, these are the questions that Turning Points aims to answer.

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